The fiberglass cows received a complete restoration before the trip
By Diego Flammini
Visitors to a dairy processing plant in Illinois will soon notice two new greeters outside its doors.
The Prairie Farms processing facility in Rockford, Ill., is now home to two fiberglass dairy cows – a 10-foot-tall cow and a 5-foot-tall calf.
Getting to Illinois, however, took a team approach.
The cows were in storage at a location in Akron, Ohio that had been acquired by Prairie Farms.
“Someone sent in a photo of the cows, and that photo got passed around,” Teddy Berry, distribution manager at the Prairie Farms location in Rockford, told Farms.com. “And somehow I ended up attached to this email about getting the cows from Ohio to Illinois and that got the ball rolling.”
After finalizing the plan, it came time to restore the cows.
Seeing them up close provided evidence that some work had been done on them in the past, Berry said.
“You could tell they were spray painted multiple times,” he said. “There were some cracks and chips. They didn’t look all that well and you could tell there was some age on them.”
Enter Aaron Stark.
A delivery driver with Prairie Farms, Stark dabbles in vehicle restoration and welcomed the opportunity to restore the fiberglass cows and help refurbish the trailer that houses them.
“It sounded like fun to me,” he told Farms.com.
He spent about 10 days preparing the cows for their new coats of paint, which came with challenges.
“Getting on top of the big cow was tricky,” he said. “And getting them done in time for the transportation was challenging. But when I saw the cows and their trailer finished and ready for transport, I was honored to have been a part of that and to be part of a good team.”
In total, it took about 14 days to complete the total restoration, Stark said.
With the cows looking their best, it was time for the 500-mile journey from Ohio to Illinois to get them front and center for a store’s grand opening.
That’s where Keith McGriff got involved.
He was tasked with hooking up to the trailer and transporting the guests of honor from Ohio to Illinois.
“We had to put three new tires on the trailer,” he said. “The trailer was in really bad shape, and we just hoped we could get it back to even do the restoration.”
As he drove to Rockford, his cargo received some roadside attention.
“Driving through Chicago, a ton of people were looking at it and taking pictures of it. It’s not too often you see a 10-foot cow driving down the road, let alone in Chicago.”
And while the new cows may be permanent fixtures at the Rockford location, customers may see them popping up in other spots.
“We’ve had other stores reach out to us to have the cows on display,” Berry said. “And some people want them for parades and things like that.”
Prairie Farms is holding a contest to name the cow and its calf.
The names will be revealed on June 30, the end of National Dairy Month.